Imagine that inside you is a movie projector and it projects onto the screen of your life your entire story in which you are the main character and everyone else in your story are images that you’ve created of other people. You may see the other people in your story as independent entities that you don’t have any control over. However, while you can’t control other peoples’ behavior or choices- you do have 100% control over how you perceive the other people in your movie- the way you experience others is 100% your own creation- your own version of them, the meaning you’ve created for them.
You’ve probably heard the phrase
“We see the world not as it is, but as we are.”
This is very true and it applies to our movie analogy very nicely. We only see the other people in our movie the way WE perceive them to be- not necessarily the way they are. In fact, we only see OURSELVES in our own movie the way we perceive ourselves to be- not necessarily the way we are.
Whatever it is that we see on the screen (our external circumstances) MUST first come through our own internal lens. So if we see spots and smudges on our screen (representing things that bother us about our circumstances) how much sense does it make to try to “fix” them on the screen? We can spend all our energy trying to clean all the smudges that we see on the screen, but our efforts will be futile until we realize that the cleaning needs to happen on the lens, not the screen. That’s where our effort is best spent- cleaning our own lens. And what is our lens? It is the way we direct our attention and the meaning we give everything and everyone.
Questions to Ponder
In what ways have I tried to fix my problems by working on the screen?
How can I clean my own lens?